No mask mandate in Panama City Beach despite resident requests

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — As coronavirus cases continue to rise across the Panhandle, some residents took to the Panama City Beach City Commission Meeting on Thursday to express their concerns before the council.

One meeting attendee asked the council to implement a mask mandate, and expressed while the business closures may have been controversial, they were the best thing to suppress the virus. While she expressed she could not go that long without income, she suggested reopening must be done in the safest way possible.

Another meeting attendee asked that masks be more accessible to residents and if the city could provide them at storefronts.

“I think if we make the masks available to our people who are in the grocery stores or wherever that will surely cut down on this because it’s not a mystery as to how this virus is spread it’s a mystery as to why this keeps happening,” she said.

The City Commission ultimately decided that the choice to wear a facial covering is a personal one and encouraged residents to be responsible for their own health.

“It’s an individualized decision that’s not a decision a government can make on your behalf, you just need to show responsibility of yourself,” City Manager Tony O’Rourke said.

He also encouraged residents to practice CDC guidelines for proper hygiene and continue to self-isolate if you are a person with health risks.

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